I am a freelance author, writer, critic, artist, and entrepreneur living in the Heart of the Texas Hill Country.
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The process is challenging. Attempting to do anything online with the purpose of attracting people to your site or blog is draining, and with the exception of a very, very small percentage of people—the select few who find themselves on the fortunate side of happenstance—the process is continuous, it never ends. You build clientele and exposure but it is as gradual as watching children grow, you’ll notice only if you blink for long enough to miss a few steps. A large number of people give up, and I don’t think it’s because they don’t have the patience for the struggle, I think it’s more likely that they feel, and wrongly so, that there is no real progression, that whatever they’re striving for is fruitless.
Marketing for an independently built, and run online bookstore is both exceptionally easy and exceptionally difficult. With some time you learn to understand your market—with the help of analytics programs like Google and Facebook. You can develop a marketing strategy based on that free information. Personally, I find that there are two real challenges that I face every day: the first is establishing a marketing budget, especially for a business like an online bookstore. The greatest challenge, however, again, is time. If you put in your dues, remain active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and even Reddit—if you can find your niche—and you post, at least once a day, on most, if not all, of these social media outlets your clientele will inevitably build.
Time, for me, is a struggle though. It’s not that I don’t have any time. I don’t work a 9 to 5 job, and I don’t do shift work. I work for myself, where time management is tricky. And, for years, when I was only writing, time management was easy. Well, it became easy. Of course, it didn’t start out that way. If you have nothing but time it’s easy to want to do with your time whatever you want to do, which, at the beginning, leaves very little time for actual work. Once you discover your niche it’s easy to become a workaholic, which I did become. I love working. I love writing. And I love building this bookstore.
When I started working on the bookstore however the habits that I spent a decade creating, and maintaining melted away like camembert cheese in the hot Catalonian sun. I felt like I was in my early twenties again, but in the childish whatthehell am I doing with my life, kind of way, and I found myself mentally coveting all my time, and, with all these ideas and goals floating around in my head, I didn’t know where to begin. I had notes and books piling up, projects wasting away, and I’d sit in front of my computer ready to work, and I would accomplish nothing.
Then I would focus myself on a single large project and feel accomplished, for a while, until I finished, and there I was again, staring into a computer screen with too much, and yet nothing to do. My house is filled with projects, half-read books, ideas taped to my desk, and I tell myself, “If I could just do that one thing, it’ll make everything else easier to do, or, simply, fall into place. I just need that one thing to happen for me.” And, yes, I do have a one thing that is almost constantly on my mind. I am almost always working towards it. And if I’m not, I am thinking about it: praying, shaking my fist, drinking wine, sacrificing scorpions to the sun god (Ra), and self-help books (half-read). Where does a life go? People sometimes wonder. I’m sure I know the answer, or an answer, to the question. We spend our adult lives trying to make the rest of our lives happen the way that we were told they would during our formidable life.
We have to make a living. We don’t barter. And, I’m not happy about a few situations in my life. The website: communiteabooks.com is doing well. I’m proud of it. I want it to be better. I know it can be better. I have ideas, and visions of possibilities, things that would require a more specified knowledge of html, of coding, of actively building a website from the ground up. Unfortunately unlike building a table, or writing a novel, or painting a picture I cannot even fathom where to begin. Everything I know about building a website I taught myself while building my website. People, remember, I have an online BOOKSTORE I’m not selling ideas, like, Bitcoin. I’m still impressed by television. Nevertheless I have the ambition to create, and I believe that Communitea Books is worth the process and the time. Even when I find myself overwhelmed with all the things that I want to do, and not having the means to do them, or at least believing that I don’t have the means.
Sometimes it seems to me that everybody is content with routine: living a life structured by work: getting up, going to work, doing a very specific job, and going home. I’m not even capable of it; seriously, I’ve tried. A lot. It’s interesting to me that the people we always see talking about failure and effort and struggle are the people that don’t seem to fail or effort or struggle. But, as humans, we construct our own stories, and reasons for the situations of others. People exist only as we perceive them to exist, and in the way, only, that they were, or are based entirely on our own perceptions, as they came into our lives. We never hear about failure and effort and struggle from the people who are actively failing and putting the effort in day in-, and day out, and struggling. Or, at least, we don’t pay attention to those people.
I’m an artist, damn it. I’m also thirty-three years old. Which of the two comes first? I still wake up every day determined to develop this website, to accomplish that one thing, to eventually walk into my storefront and order a tea, slide a book of the shelf, find a place in front of the fireplace, and watch people browsing the shelves, engaged in conversation, watching TED Talks on the TV’s above in-between chapters. In the meantime it’s the process that I focus on, day-in and day-out. I will continue to wake up some days overwhelmed, and wanting to accomplish more, and wanting to work on that novel, and wanting to paint that picture, and wanting to pay off the rest of that debt, and wanting to look out a different window, and knowing that if only that one thing would happen for me, it would all be possible.